Google, Google, Google. I’ve used the most popular search engine dozens of times since I wrote the last article about promoting a book there. People all around the world have been doing just the same, day after day. When they had a question, or looked for information, they’d google it.
50,000 searches every single second, remember?
In the first post we analyzed keyword research, trying to identify keywords relevant to our book, and how many people searched for them on Google every month (with a help of a free tool called Google Keyword Planner). We made a database, specifying the average monthly searches of each key term, and assigning a relevance factor to each phrase in the database.
Now, finally, we will use the database, and try to promote the book.
As I said earlier, there exist several ways of benefiting from Google traffic. They range from paid promotion (Google Adwords), to SEO (search engine optimization), the two most orthodox methods. But you can find many other methods, and today we will look at one of them.
We will try to benefit from the websites that already rank in the top 10.
Somebody always ranks on the top
Doesn’t matter if you enter “prison books” (880 searches a month), or “real life inspirational stories” (1,900 searches a month) to Google—ten websites will always occupy the top 10 spots in the search results for given query. People will click these results, and read the content on some of the websites. After all, that’s why entered them to Google.
It would be wonderful to rank for “real life inspirational stories”, or for some other words that relate to the University of Solitude. And I will try it, but it takes a lot of time…. But we can get immediately, at least partially. How will we do so?
Commenting is an answer
If you click the top 10 search result for any keyword, one after another, you’ll see that many website encourage their visitors to comment, to share their opinion on the article.
Sometimes you need to register, or have an account with Disqus, or Facebook, to post a comment. Other times you can post anonymously, without any registration and hassle.
Sometimes you can post a link in your comment, other not. If you tried to do it, your comment would be deleted. And many times there’s an option to link your name with your website, so if somebody finds your comment interesting, they will click your name and navigate to your book page, blog, etc.
The best way to figure this out is studying the comments already posted and approved. If people posted a link in their comments, it indicates that the site owners do not mind links in the comments, or do not moderate the discussion at all.
Oppositely, if you do not find a single reply with a link, it will indicate strong moderation, and you should post a comment without a link (which can also make sense, if you include the name of your book in the comment).
Add value to the discussion, keep your goal in mind
“I loved your article. Check my book if you want.” “You can find more information on this topic on my blog, here: xyz.com…” These are very bad examples of a comment.
The interest is full of spammers, and blog owners hate them. If you aren’t clever enough to write a meaningful comment, than do not waste time with commenting. People are tired of spam, and nobody will click your link if they consider you a full-blood spammer.
Try to always skim-read the article, and write a meaningful comment. That will increase your chances of getting approved, and of attracting the readers to click the link in your comment, or to search for your name on Google. See one of my comments below:
On the other hand, you should always remember your goal—trying to get visitors to your website. Therefore you should make your comment unique, or intriguing, simply a bit different from the comments of other people.
You should also try spending little time commenting on an article. Skim read the post, check the discussion (to understand whether it is safe to post a link), and post your answer. Once you get some routine in this practice, and have an account with all the major discussing platforms, you will be able to post at least six high-quality comments in an hour.
Post with your own name anytime you can
I mentioned building your personal brand in many blog posts, and I won’t omit now either. 🙂 Posting a meaningful comment, or possibly even en expert advice, will help you to build your personal brand as a writer, analyst, guru, anything you want….
Anytime you can, post a comment signed with your own name. This will also encourage you to write quality comments, since it’s just natural for us to try to present ourselves in a good way.
However, some articles touch sensitive issue, and sometimes you don’t want to post with your name for other reasons. Then it’s perfectly all right to use a fake name, or even a fake account. Still you should try to post something meaningful, and add value to the discussion.
How deep should we look in the search results?
People typically check only the first page of search results, or the top 10 results. However, this depends strongly on the keyword, and the quality of content. If the first result (or first few results) answers their query, they won’t scroll down and check other websites. Oppositely, if they do not find what they were looking for on the first page of Google, they will either check the second page, or modify their search query.
So, how to decide where to post?
The relevance factor comes to play (we talked about it in previous article). I always multiply the number of monthly searches for the keyword with a relevance factor we assigned to the keyword.
For example, “books about prison” reported 320 monthly searches. I assigned a relevance factor 0,3 to this phrase, meaning that three out of every ten people searching for this phrase may find my book/website interesting. 320*0,3 makes 96, and that’s the number I call “the result number”. See a screen from my database:
Here is the way I work:
- If the result number (average monthly searches * relevance factor) is higher than 5,000 , I check the first 20 results, and try to post a comment anywhere possible.
- Result number from 500-5,000 – I check the top 10 results
- Result number from 100-500 – I check the top 5 results
- Result number from 50-100 – I check the top 3 results.
- Result number from 1-50 – I check only the top result, the very first website that Google shows as an answer to my search query.
You’ll find that sometimes people need to click “view comments” or “view discussion” to actually see the comments other people posted.
Other times you will find 500 comments, or even more, but just ten oldest replies will be visible. One will have to click “next comments” several times, to actually see the most recent comment (the one you can make).
Needless to say, most people won’t do that, which diminishes the actual number of people who’d see your answer in the discussion.
Low visibility should not entirely discourage you from commenting, but it should definitely have some bearing on the time you spend with an article.
If new comments have poor visibility, I just post a quick answer, preferably with a link (if it gets deleted we won’t lose much), and move on to the next article…
Oppositely, if comments are visible to the readers without a need to click anywhere, and the article has just a few comments, you should read the article carefully and try your very best to post a useful and meaningful answer/opinion.
Advanced techniques, tricks, gaming the system
This commenting technique will work for you just to certain extend if you do not want to learn the basics of internet marketing.
You will create your own Disqus account, you’ll post with your authentic Facebook account. You will use your real name and everything all the time. That’s what you can do without any knowledge of internet marketing.
However, if you want to collect all fruit hanging in the air, you should consider purchasing a private proxy server (or more private proxies).
Proxies are very popular nowadays. People use them for a variety of reasons, ranging from protecting their online identity, to executing various advanced internet marketing experiments.
One can buy a private proxy for as little as $2, and even choose a location. You can, for example, buy a proxy with an IP specific for New York City. Then you just download a free plug-in to your Firefox or Chrome (e.g. Proxy Switcher), and switch your IP addresses on the go.
Private proxies open new possibilities. Suddenly, you can have two FaceBook accounts, two Disqus accounts, etc—the real and the fake one.
Fake accounts enable you to post comments to articles you won’t comment with your real name (for whatever reason)
What’s more, they allow you to answer to your own comments, or to up-vote your comments in a discussion, which leads in a better visibility. Here’s a fake comment I posted:
Now imagine that you had not one, but ten private proxies, and ten sets of accounts. Can you imagine the possibilities?
Disclaimer: Facebook, Disqus, and website owners are becoming smarter ever day. Even if you had ten private proxies, it would still be tough to open ten new Facebook accounts, since they require phone verification. There are always ways around it, of course, but explaining this exceeds the purpose of this article. If you get seriously interested in internet marketing, you can write to me and I’ll give you some advanced tips. Private proxies cost money and if you do not know what you are doing, you should rather not purchase them.
Keep the track of comments, approvals, links, etc
As you can see on the screenshot, I keep the track of everything.
Firstly I make a list of urls that offer an option to post the comment (column “Link”), and I make a note to each url, for example if it requires a registration, whether we can post an url in a comment, etc. (column “notes”). I also decide whether I will use authentic or fake account to post there (column Fake/Auth).
Then, when I feel in a mood to actually read some articles and post the comments (the toughest part of work) I come back to the database and click one url after another, skim-reading the articles and posting comments. Anytime I post a comment, I mark it down (the column “DONE”).
Another time, typically when I feel like doing something for the promotion of the University of Solitude, or for one of my other projects, but it’s late in the night and I can’t really focus on any productive work that requires creativeness or attention, I come back to the database and visit the urls once again!
This time I check whether the comments got approved, whether the link is visible or clickable, the visibility of each comment, etc.
Then I change the color in the column “DONE”. All green colers stand for approved comments, and the deeper the shade the better the comment (in a sense of visibility, clickability, etc.).
Red cells stand for comments that didn’t get approved, or got deleted, and purple and grey colors are for some special situations :).
This tedious process allows me to keep track of my work, to understand which domains are best for commenting and which I just waste my time with (since they never approve my comments), and it also helps me to improve my commenting skills and understand how various systems work (FB commenter plug-in, Disqus, auto-moderation, etc.) so I can improve my commenting success rate over time.
Immediate, hidden, and long term benefits of commenting
The immediate benefits are obvious. Since we comment on articles that already rank for keywords and phrases relevant to our book, we should get some traffic from this activity. But how many visitors can you get?
It depends on many things—your niche, quality of your comments, the total number of comments you post, visibility of the comments, etc, etc.
However, remember that we post on websites that already rank for the keywords, and likely will rank for them in the future. So even if you got just fifteen new visitors from this activity a week, you can expect similar numbers of visitors the next week, and the next one, etc. . . . And we talk about a targeted traffic, quality traffic, since the people decided on their own to click a link in your comment, or to search for your name on Google.
There are some hidden gains you can’t find in your Google Analytics reports:
- Building your personal brand
- Learning something new about your niche (you read articles before commenting on them)
- Improving your commenting and writing skills
- Helping other people with your interesting opinion/comment
Long term benefits
Every comment you post results in a new backlink to your website. Backlinks on relevant places increase the authority of your page in the eyes of Google, and in the eyes of other search engines (Bing, Yahoo). This should help your own website to rank better, for a variety of keywords, in a long term run.
- Once you created a database of keywords related to your book, and checked their average monthly searches, you can start benefiting from the Google traffic.
- The easiest cost-free way of doing that consists in commenting on the blogs and websites that allow this feature, and already rank in the top 10 (or top 5) for the search results of relevant search queries.
- Post useful, unique and relevant comments, and improve your chances of getting approved.
- Always try to add the link to your website (or book page on Amazon) in your comment, either directly in the comment body, or in your name (study comments posted by other people to see the possibilities). If you can’t include a link, try to mention the name of your book in the comment, so people who find the comment interesting may search for it on Google or Amazon.
- Try to post with your own name, to build your personal brand as an expert in your niche. However, anytime you encounter a sensitive content, or don’t feel like posting with your own name, use fake names and fake accounts. Renting some private proxies will help you to do this easily, but you can theoretically succeed without them as well.
- Keep track of everything—keywords, comments you posted, whether they got approved or not, etc. to learn from your mistakes and improve your commenting strategy for the future.
- If you find an article that offers a huge visibility for your comment (for example a website that ranks number 1. for a relevant keyword with thousands of searches each month), do not hesitate to game a system, replying to, or upvoting your own comment, to increase the visibility of the comment and your brand.
- Commenting can bring immediate traffic increase, but it has also many hidden and long term benefits. Keep them on your mind anytime you lack motivation to continue doing this tedious job of commenting.
That’s it for now. I wish you a great week full of happiness and hard work on things that matter not only to you, but also to the well-being of the entire society.
Should you have any questions, feel free to write me, or post a comment.
See you soon with the next post,